Only nine out of Malta’s 23 biggest private companies have women on the board of directors, and even within these companies, they’re still in an absolute minority in almost all of the cases.
“Slow progress in adding more women to boards has dominated recent conversations in Malta. The more progressive companies are taking the lead, looking for female board members in new places and bringing them on board in new ways. Many feel they still have a long way to go, but their experiences are salutary for those that are lagging behind,” Dr Michelle Gialanze, President at Women Directors in Malta, wrote in a recent business opinion piece in the July issue of The Business Observer.
“The reasons of this may include a need of a change of mind set. What’s needed are purpose and intention to change the status quo —a set of goals and motivations that will underpin decision making. For some, that has meant establishing a target number of board positions for women, while others take care to ensure that the list of candidates is diverse from the beginning, without adherence to a static quota.”
“Another reason often cited for not having women present on boards, is that there are a small pool of female executives willing to take up directorship positions. Overcoming this reality of unequal numbers requires openness to creative solutions. One is to move beyond the standard practice of focusing a search on executives with prior board experience. Ultimately, it’s about defining what is non-negotiable, such as digital or finance expertise, and then seeing what is flexible so as to deliver on gender-diversity goals and to meet specific challenges,” Dr Gialanze continued.
“Effectively creating and cultivating an active pipeline of female candidates is arguably the single most important element of a successful board-inclusion effort. When conducting a search, this means relying on both personal networks and lists available to identify candidates. Relying only on the former, particularly where a board is composed primarily of men, risks perpetuating the candidate slates from the old-boys’ network.
“It’s important to recognise, of course, that broader gender inclusion at all levels of the company is critical. Companies can drive board inclusion by preparing their own female executives for future board participation, placing them in roles with profit-and-loss responsibility, ensuring they have committed mentors and sponsors, and equipping them with the knowledge and skills needed to confront the governance and strategy issues that boards typically face. This can create a virtuous cycle that speeds progress on board diversity and counteracts cynicism with success stories such as those in our survey,” Dr Gialanze concluded.
Name of Listed Company
Bank of Valletta p.l.c
HSBC Bank Malta p.l.c.
Lombard Bank Malta p.l.c.
Mapfre Middlesea p.l.c
Simonds Farsons Cisk p.l.c.
GO p.l.c. Ord
International Hotel Investments p.l.c.
Plaza Centres p.l.c.
Malta International Airport p.l.c.
Santumas Shareholdings plc
Grand Harbour Marina p.l.c.
6pm Holdings p.l.c.
RS2 Software p.l.c.
Malita Investments p.l.c.
Tigne Mall p.l.c
Pefaco International plc
Malta Properties Company plc